26 Jun 2018

Cruisin’ Nantucket

In his 2011 best seller, “It’s All About the Bike: The Pursuit of Happiness on Two Wheels,” author Rob Penn takes readers through not only the history of the bicycle, but his personal reasons for claiming it as his preferred mode of transport for 36 years. “I ride to get to work,” he writes, “to keep fit, to bathe in air and sunshine, to escape, to stay sane, for fun, for a moment of grace, occasionally to impress someone or to scare myself silly.” “It’s a broad church,” Penn concludes, “of practical, physical and emotional reasons with one unifying thing – the bicycle.”
Nantucket is well-known as a place that’s “bike friendly.” With a wide network of beautiful paved bike paths, along with countless sandy trails and secret dirt roads, it’s a fun and convenient way to explore the island. Perhaps more than just a good mode of transportation, bike riding on Nantucket is everything Penn concluded in his book and more. It truly is a way to escape the “noise” of life, the burden and intrusion of electronic devices and put yourself into the beauty and serenity that define our island.
My husband and I recently made what we’re now describing as a “life changing” decision. We purchased a couple of shiny new two-wheelers. And these aren’t just average beach cruisers…they’re the trendy new “electric assist” version from the Electric Bike Company. I confess, I was resistant at first. If I’m going to climb onto those 2 wheels, I prefer to get a good work-out. Plus, I really didn’t want to give the impression we had become “old folks” who needed assistance with our bicycles for heavens sake. Turns out, it was just the opposite. These new wheels give us quite a workout, offer a little reprieve when the head winds are strong or the hills are steep and we’re getting comments and nods of approval from our middle aged friends and the tech savvy teenagers too. Most importantly, we’re having fun.
You certainly don’t need the electric assist to enjoy the ride on Nantucket. The multiple island bike rental shops offer a wide range of 2-wheel options with the added bonus of a delivery and pick-up service right to your door. You can join friends and family for a full island tour or you can peddle off on your own for a quiet morning ride to Sconset for scones and the sunrise or head into the network of paths through the moors late in the day to enjoy the fresh air and singing birds. The options are endless, but the end result is the same. As Penn says so well, “It’s a moment of grace.”
The next time you want to explore Nantucket untethered from your devices, pull out your cycle (or contact Young’s Bicycle, Easy Riders Bicycle Rentals or Cook’s Cycle Shop to deliver one) and head out across the island. The direction you choose will not matter. In short order you’ll intersect with one of the many island bike paths which will inevitably lead you to the water (we’re an island after all). Put that kickstand down when you get there, take a long deep breathe in and as you exhale, savor the view before you and be reminded that sometimes the secret to happiness (and sanity according to Penn) is two wheels and Mother Nature.
Cruise control.
Shellie Dunlap  
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